Board Election

Participation on the ONA Board of Directors is a unique opportunity for digital professionals to guide the world’s largest organization of digital journalists in shaping the future of media and building a stronger industry. Board participation is a chance to grow personally and professionally, and to develop skills, experience and connections with a team of other passionate and motivated professionals.

There are a total of 16 seats on the ONA Board; one is an appointed, non-voting student representative. Eight members are in the middle of their terms and not up for re-election, including the student appointee. The other eight directors are at the end of their two-year terms or appointments.

Two of those eight seats are being held back to be filled by appointment following the election to address needs as determined by the Board. That left six seats up for election this year.

Full timeline of process

From nominations to final results, the election process lasts approximately three months. Note that some dates are subject to change:

Aug. 2, 2018: Board nominations opened
Aug. 22, 2018: Board nominations closed
Aug. 29, 2018: Board slate announced
Sept. 11, 2018: Board voting opened
Sept. 13, 2018: Candidate forum held at ONA18 in Austin, TX.
Sept. 27, 2018: Board voting closed; winners notified
Oct. 4, 2018: Winners announced
January 1, 2019: New terms begin

How to run for the board

Two forms must be submitted to complete candidacy for the ONA Board. The 2019 opening of nominations will be in late July 2019.

  1. Ensure you’re a member of ONA in good standing. Confirm your membership status or renew your membership or join ONA here.
  2. Review the nominee criteria and responsibilities required of board members, and have an understanding of ONA’s mission.
  3. Ask another ONA member to nominate you using the nomination form.
  4. Provide your own information, your involvement with ONA, and your vision for the organization by completing the candidate form.

Note: Current members of the Board of Directors running for reelection are required to complete the candidate form only

What’s next? Nominations review process

The Governance Committee, led by a former or current board member, will screen candidates and present a slate of eligible candidates to the current board for its approval. It is the responsibility of the Governance Committee to present a slate that reflects a diversity of interests in the make-up of the board. Among the key factors the Governance Committee looks for:

  • Past involvement with ONA
  • Diversity reflective of the communities that journalism serves
  • Diversity of media represented
  • Executive experience and fundraising capacity
  • ONA membership type (professional, academic or associate)
  • Professional experience in digital media

Once the slate has been reviewed, the nominees will be notified by the Executive Director and announced to the ONA membership. A page listing nominees will be posted on, along with their photos, bios, stated qualifications and vision for ONA as submitted during the nomination process.

Nominees will be given up to three weeks to reach out to ONA members via social media or other communications platforms. They are welcome to include any relevant links for posting with their candidate profile on

Election process

The 2020 ONA Board election will open in September 2019. At that time, all ONA members as of a specific date will be eligible to cast ballots. Voting will close a few weeks later.

  1. Study up on the candidate slate, which will be available beginning late August 2019.
  2. Log into the ONA member portal and find your unique election passcode.
  3. Visit the ONA eBallot system and log in using your passcode to claim your ballot.

In 2017, the ONA Board of Directors appointed one non-voting Student Representative to the Board for a two-year term which started on Jan. 1, 2018. More details about the selection of the student representative can be found here.

Previous elections